Do unto yourself do unto others

There are times when an employer has to pass a judgment on moral grounds against an employee.
This is a case of a big manufacturer and his agent of a territory.
The agent collected a cash component of an order from a customer and he did not remit the amount to the manufacturer.
The agent in the past had been pleading the manufacturer to remit his commissions but the manufacturer had ignored his requests on the grounds that the commissions were not due as per the contract because the particular customers in the cases had not paid either the retention amounts or form “Cs” or in some cases both.
The manufacturer called the agent a thief and threatened to terminate his services.
The agent had working capital problems and he didn’t have sufficient funds even to pay his employees’ salaries or other essential requirements. In those circumstances the agent expressed his inability to remit the amount. He requested the manufacturer to adjust the amounts against his future commissions against the orders where the retention amounts or form “Cs” or even both were pending.
The manufacturer wanted to establish his authority and he went about labeling the agent as deceitful. He wrote letters to all the existing as well as potential customers of the agent’s territory that he had terminated the services of the so and so agent, therefore if they deal with him it would be to their own risk and peril.
He spread the word even among the other manufacturers probably trying to guard them against the dangers of employing the so and so agent.
At the ground level what actually happened was as follows:
The agent got hired by a direct competitor of the manufacturer the very next day. Many potential customers passed on their new orders to the competitor whom the agent represented.
The fact was that the manufacturer did not apply the same standards of moral excellence in his own operations. To illustrate the point, the manufacturer was taking a cash component from the customer, an income which he had no intention to show in his IT returns.
The agent as well as the manufacturer had bitter exchange of fruitless correspondence for over a year.
The manufacturer incurred losses; the CEO was eased out of his position after a couple of years. The agent also could not grow to his potential but his method of operations changed, his conduct remained hundred percent honest after that.
A thought comes to my mind that the manufacturer could have used a more matured approach after he learnt that the agent was unable to remit the cash. He could have been sympathetic to the agent’s working capital problems. He could have agreed to adjust the amount against the commissions which would have been due as soon as the retention amounts, form “Cs” or in some cases both were received. They could have discussions across the table and the manufacturer could have nicely conveyed to the agent that he shall not tolerate any adjustment in the future, that it was the last time that he was bending the rules.
Over the years both parties could have prospered.

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